5 immigration staff face raps for 'escorting' Korean fugitive

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 10 2013 07:21 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2013 01:36 AM

MANILA - Five persons have been recommended charged with various criminal and administrative charges for the unauthorized and unrecorded departure from the Philippines of South Korean fugitive Sungjun Park last March 19.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) fact-finding team that investigated the incident recommended the following:

  • Augustus Caesar Morales, Ma. Roselle A. Sacendoncillo, and Fernando Pedrajas be charged for bribery; persuading, including another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules; solicitation or acceptance of gifts; and grave misconduct;
  • Attys Arvin Cesar C. Santos and Jing Oliver A. Balina be charged for knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person;
  • Atty. Cesar C. Santos be charged for gross neglect of duty.

All of the above, except or Pedrajas, are employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI); Pedrajas is with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Office of Transportation Security.

Park was able to flee the country via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in spite of his inclusion in the BI Blacklist pursuant to an order by the Board of Commissioners for being "undocumented and undesirable."

The order was in response to a request for assistance by the Korean Embassy for his arrest and deportation on fraud charges at the Busan District Court.

Park's passport had been cancelled by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade effective March 2012.

However, on the day of his departure, Park's passport was duly processed and his boarding pass stamped, and he was even escorted.

Immigration employee Anna Primerose L. Mati was, meantime, absolved of any criminal or administrative liability after the fact-finding team found that she did not participate in allowing Park to flee.

The 15-page fact-finding report was signed by Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Aileen Marie Gutierrez, Investigation Agent V Don Hernandez, and Investigation Agent III Jonathan Mengullo.